Finding a trainer can be like dating: painful and awkward until you find the right one. But I needed to find a good eventing trainer for my rescue horse, Banjo.
I wanted to learn about eventing, a completely new discipline for me. I'd been attending local events to observe people competing at the lower levels. I felt this discipline?which consists of dressage, cross-country jumping, and stadium jumping?might be a good fit for Banjo and me.
I did learn a few things during my search. First, it's a good idea to ask people you respect whom they'd recommend. And when you find a trainer you're interested in, talk to current clients. Also, watch how he or she rides--and how he or she handles horses and their clients.
I'm more motivated by positive feedback than negative feedback, so I wanted a trainer who'd would be patient with me. A past trainer would yell: "Sit down!" and "Get your rear in the saddle!" This scared me, making me even more tight and stiff, rendering me completely unable to relax down into the saddle.
It's funny?I stayed with that yelling trainer until something else made me leave. I guess on some level, I thought that was how it was supposed to be. But now I know there are less stressful ways to learn. There was enough yelling in my childhood; I don't need it my adult life, thank you!
I started trying instructors who came with recommendations. I tried a dressage instructor who was also a Pilates instructor. She was very focused on body position. She really helped to correct some of my positional flaws, but she wasn't the right fit for me.
I tried another trainer who was very good, but really didn't like the fact that my horse was a rescue, as she worked with mostly with well-bred horses. I understood and kept looking.
My friend Sharon was working with a trainer, "Angie," whom she liked and who was competing at local events. I watched Sharon's lesson and liked what I saw.
When you're new to a discipline, it's difficult to judge whether someone is qualified, and is right for you and your horse. But in this case, I could see that Angie was patient, and Sharon and her horse were relaxed and having fun! I thought those were very good signs.
I did some research, then scheduled a lesson with Angie. She gained points right away when she told me she liked Banjo! She's young, but patient and knowledgeable. Her main focus is dressage?a discipline Banjo and I had a lot to learn about.
She just may be a good fit, I thought.
Cate Lamm, an avid horsewoman, has been a part of Colorado Horse Rescue (www.chr.org) for 10 years. There, she's served as head of the adoption committee, has acted as general manager and now works as a rehabilitation trainer. Lamm has owned a number of her own rescue horses and has 20 years of equine experience.
If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out AHomeForEveryHorse.com. Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project.
This project helps find homes for America's 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here's how it works:
- Begin the search for your next equine partner at AHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
- Visit the site's "Services" section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
- Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.
If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.